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Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture on Environmental Law

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at 5:00 pm, Gerber Glass Moot Court Room
Michael B. Gerrard
Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
"Tragic Legal Choices in Keeping Below Two Degrees"

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At the United Nations climate conference in Paris in December 2015, the nations of the world decided that global average temperatures must be kept well below 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Achieving this goal will require a massive transformation of the world’s energy system away from fossil fuels and toward clean forms of energy.  In the United States that will involve very difficult choices about land use, environmental review, species protection, and may require changes in the way we view some of our bedrock environmental laws.  But failure to do this will involve even more difficult choices.


Michael B. Gerrard teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation at Columbia Law School, and is director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is also Chair of the Faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Upon joining the Columbia law faculty in 2009, he became Senior Counsel to the firm.  His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals, handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects, and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors.

A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers' Best Law Book award for works on environmental law and brownfields.  He has written or edited eleven books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field (second edition published in 2014, co-edited with Jody Freeman) and the twelve-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide. Among his other books are The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables (2011), The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change: U.S. and International Aspects (2012) and  Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of  Rising Seas and a Changing Climate (2013). Since 1986 he has been an environmental law columnist for the New York Law Journal.

Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.  He also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. He has served on the executive committees of the boards of the Environmental Law Institute and the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

He received a B.A. in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law (Root-Tilden Scholar).


Over forty-five years ago, Lloyd K. Garrison and his associate, Albert K. Butzel, of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, won the landmark decision to preserve Storm King Mountain on the Hudson River. This victory for the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference did more than safeguard "an area of unique beauty and major historical importance" - it inaugurated what today we recognize as the field of environmental law.

Standing in court to protect nature, citizen suit legislation, the environmental impact statement process, and the balancing of economics with the preservation of scenic beauty and historic resources: these are all rooted in Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission, 354 F.2d 608 (2d Cir. 1965). The Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture celebrates the vision, public spirit and life of this attorney whose legal acumen led citizens in their successful advocacy of environmental quality at Storm King.

Lloyd K. Garrison was a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law. His calling to the bar led him immediately into public service, helping to start the National Labor Relations Board while serving as Dean of the University of Wisconsin Law School. A great-grandson of William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist, he was a member of the National Urban League from 1924 on, and labored constantly in support of civil rights, defending Arthur Miller, Langston Hughes and J. Robert Oppenheimer during the era of McCarthyism. Garrison’s service in support of honest and open government marked his role with the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and his participation on numerous federal commissions and agencies from Presidents Herbert Hoover through Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

Lloyd K. Garrison passed away in 1991. For all his 93 years, Garrison devoted his brilliance and indefatigable energy to building a humane and caring society, respectful of the Rule of Law. Consistent with this dedication, Lloyd K. Garrison took up the citizens’ call to represent the Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference in its struggle to protect the Hudson River Gorge at Storm King Mountain. With characteristic enthusiasm he championed public participation rights for the community’s environmental interest, just as he did for civil rights and liberties. The Scenic Hudson victory is a living testament to Garrison's ever hopeful spirit.

The Lloyd K. Garrison Lecture on Environmental Law was established in his memory in 1995, four years after his death, and continues in his honor.


April 1, 2015
Robin Kundis Craig
William H. Leary Professor of Law
University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law
"Learning to Live with the Trickster: Narrating Climate Change and the Value of Resilience Thinking"
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March 26, 2014
J.B. Ruhl
David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law
Vanderbilt Law School
“In Defense of Ecosystem Services"

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March 12, 2013
Lisa Heinzerling
Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
“Inside EPA"

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March 26, 2012
Jody Freeman
Archibald Cox Professor of Law and Director, Environmental Law Program
Harvard Law School
“Climate and Energy Policy in the Obama Administration"

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April 6, 2011
Daniel A. Farber
Sho Sato Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley
“Sustainable Consumption and Communities: Bringing the American Way of Life into the Twenty-First Century”

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April 15, 2010
Albert K. Butzel
Principal, Albert K. Butzel Law Offices, New York, NY
“Storm King Revisited: A View from the Mountaintop”

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April 1, 2009
Robert V. Percival
Robert F. Stanton Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program, University of Maryland School of Law
"The Globalization of Environmental Law"

April 17, 2008
Hope Babcock
Professor of Law, Georgetown University
"Global Climate Change: A Civic Republican Moment"


John Bonine
Professor of Law, University of Oregon School of Law
“From Silent Spring to Sweltering Summers: The Past and Future of Private Public Interest Law”


Karin P. Sheldon
Professor of Law, Associate Dean for the Environmental Law Program and Director of the Environmental Law Center, Vermont Law School
“Upstream of Peril: The Role of Federal Lands in Addressing the Extinction Crisis"

Cass R. Sunstein
Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago Law School
“Irreversible and Catastrophic: Global Warming, Terrorism, and Other Problems”

Edith Brown Weiss
Francis Cabell Brown Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
“International Water Disputes”


J. William Futrell
President of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI)
“The Transition to Sustainable Development Law”


Zygmunt J. B. Plater
Professor of Law, Boston College Law School
“Environmental Law at the Crossroads: The Road Travelled and the Road Ahead”


Gerald Torres
H. O. Head Centennial Professor in Real Property Law, University of Texas Law School
"Who Owns the Sky?"


A. Dan Tarlock
Distinguished Professor of Law and Co-Director Program in Environmental and Energy Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
"The Future of Environmental 'Rule of Law' Litigation"

Richard J. Lazarus
Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
"Thirty Years of Environmental Protection Law in the Supreme Court"


Oliver A. Houck
Professor of Law and Director of Environmental Law Programs, Tulane University School of Law
"Environmental Law and the General Welfare"


William H. Rodgers, Jr.
Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law
"Defeating Environmental Law: The Geology of Legal Advantage"


Joseph L. Sax
Counselor to Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, US Department of the Interior
"Using Property Rights to Attack Environmental Protection"

David Sive, Esq.
Founding Partner, Sive, Paget, & Reisel, PC
Adjunct Professor of Law, Pace Law School
"The Litigation Process in the Development of Environmental Law"



In Memoriam: Two Founders of Environmental Law
David Sive (1922-2014)

Joseph Sax (1936-2014)

The Elisabeth Haub School of Law and environmental law professors across the nation mourn the recent passing of two giants of environmental law, Joseph Sax and David Sive. Prior to the 2014 Garrison Lecture, our community took time to remember their lives and achievements.

Memorial Essay by Professor Nicholas A. Robinson

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